Frog of the Week

Fiji Tree Frog (Cornufer vitiensis)

Fiji Tree Frog
Fiji tree frog by Tamara.osborne

Common Name: Fiji Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Cornufer vitiensis
Family: Ceratobatracidae
Locations: Fiji – Islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Ovalau, and possibly Taveuni
Male Size: 1.25 – 1.7 inches (32 – 45 mm)
Female Size: 1.8 – 2.3 inches (47 – 60 mm)

The Fiji Tree Frog is one of the two native frogs to the islands of Fiji with the other being the Fiji Ground Frog (Cornufer vitianus). As you can tell by their names, the Fiji Tree Frog lives in trees and other vegetation, often near streams.

The frog breeds all year round but is most active breeding from December to March. The Fiji Frog is one of the few species where both the male and the female call for males. Amplexus for the species is inguinal, where the male grabs the female by her things. Twenty to forty eggs are laid in leaf axils, where they will hatch directly into tiny frogs, skipping a free larval tadpole phase.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Fiji Tree Frog as Near Threatened with Extinction. Habitat loss is the number one issue for the frog. The forests that they live in are being cut down for lumber and to make room for more farms and urban areas.

Frog of the Week

Arizona Tree Frog (Hyla wrightorum)

Arizona Tree Frog
photo by the USDA

Common Name: Arizona Tree Frog, Wright’s Mountain Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla (Dryophytes) wrightorum
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: Mexico and the United States
US Locations: Arizona and New Mexico
Size: 1 – 2 inches (25 – 51 mm)

The Arizona Tree Frog is the state amphibian of Arizona. The males of the species have tan-green throats.

The Arizona Tree Frog starts to breed at the start of the summer monsoon season. Breeding season for the frogs only last a couple days. The males will call from the top of trees at the start and move down to slow moving bodies of water. Eventually, the females will show up and the male will grasp her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, she will lay her eggs and the male will fertilize them. Afterwards, both parents leave the water and neither provide any care for the offspring.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list classifies the Arizona Tree Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frogs have a wide range and a presumed large population.

Frog of the Week

Rusty Robber Frog (Strabomantis bufoniformis)

Rusty Robber Frog
photo by Brian Gratwicke;
Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Rusty Robber Frog
Scientific Name: Strabomantis bufoniformis
Family: Strabomantidae
Locations: Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama
Size: 2 – 3.7 inches (50 – 94 mm)

The Rusty Robber Frog lives along the streams in lowland and moist forests. They are primarily nocturnal, spending its nights catching insects near the stream. While the frog may live near the stream, they don’t reproduce in them. The female frog lays her eggs in the sand. The frogs are a direct developing species, skipping a free living larval phase (aka no tadpoles).

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Rusty Robber Frog as Endangered. The two main problems for the frog are Chytrid Fungus and habitat destruction. The frog is probably extinct in Costa Rica now since it hasn’t been seen there since 1978.

Frog of the Week

Argus Reed Frog (Hyperolius argus)

Argus Reed Frog
Female Argus Reed Frogs – photo by Alfeus Liman

Common Name: Argus Reed Frog, Argus Sedge Frog, or Argus-eyed Frog
Scientific Name: Hyperolius argus
Family: Hyperoliidae – Reed and Sedge Frog Family
Locations: Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, and Tanzania
Size: 1 – 1.3 inches  (27-34 mm)

The Argus Reed Frog is found along the eastern coastal lowlands of Africa in grasslands, shrublands and savannas. They are always close to a water body. The frogs are sexually dimorphic. The colors of the male frog tend to be green or yellow in color with two stripes running down the back while females are brown in color but with large spots on their back. Though in southern range of the species, the males are brown in color.

Mating takes place in the shallows of water. The female frog can lay up around 200 eggs in clutches of 30.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assessed the Argus Reed Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a wide range and a presumed large population.

Frog of the Week

Annam Horned Toad (Brachytarsophrys intermedia)

Annam Horned Toad (Brachytarsophrys intermedia)
photo by В естественной среде

Common Name: Annam Horned Toad, Annam Short-legged Toad, and Annam Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name: Brachytarsophrys intermedia
Family: Megophryidae – Leaf Litter Frogs
Locations: Laos, Vietnam, and probably Cambodia
Size: 4.6 – 5.5 inches (11.8 – 13.9 cm)

The Annam Horned Toad lives in evergreen forests near stream side boulders. The toad was previous a member of the genus Megophrys.

In Laos, breeding has been observed in July in streams. The males call out from half way submerged rocks. After breeding, the male protect the clutches of eggs.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Annam Horned Toad as Least Concern for Extinction. The species has a wide range however, their range is threatened with the rapid increase in agricultural development in the area.

Frog of the Week

Filfil Slippery Frog (Conraua beccarii)

photo by Sandra Goutte

Common Name: Filfil Slippery Frog and Beccari’s Giant Frog
Scientific Name: Conraua beccarii
Family: Conrauidae
Locations: Ethiopia and Eritrea
Size: 5.5 – 6 inches (140 – 153 mm)

The Filfil Slippery Frog lives amongst the rivers, streams, and large pools above 800 to 2500 meters above sea level. Not much is known about the frogs life history. Clusters of the eggs have been found at the end of the rainy season (August).

The frog is named after Signor Nello Beccari, who described the frog on a trip to Africa.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Filfil Slippery Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a wide range and are common throughout most of it.

Frog of the Week

Large-Webbed Bell Toad (Bombina maxima)

Large-Webbed Bell Toad
photo by Benjamin Tapley

Common Name: Large-webbed Bell Toad and Yunnan Firebelly Toad
Scientific Name: Bombina maxima
Family: Bombinatoridae – Fire bellied Toad family
Locations: China
Size: 1.7 – 2 inches (44 – 51 mm)

The Large-webbed Bell Toad lives high in the mountains near swamps, ponds, and ditches. Like other fire bellied toads, they have a bright colored belly that shows off that they are toxic. When threatened, the toad arches its back to show off their stomach to warn off the predator. Also, they can secrete a white mucus to deter the predator from eating them. The toad breeds from May to June.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list assessed the Large-webbed Bell Toad as Least Concern with Extinction. The toad has a large range and are thought to be numerous throughout it.

Frog of the Week

Pacific Horned Frog (Ceratophrys stolzmanni)

Pacific Horned Frog
photo by Santiago Ron

Common Name: Pacific Horned Frog or Stolzmann’s Horned Frog
Scientific Name: Ceratophrys stolzmanni
Family: Ceratophryidae – Horned Frog family
Locations: Ecuador and Peru
Male Size: 1.8 – 2.6 inches (48 – 68 mm)
Female Size: 2 – 3.2 inches (53 – 82 mm)

The Pacific Horned Frog lives along the Pacific coast of southern Ecuador and the very northern coast of Peru. They don’t live a long life, only about 3 years. The frog is most active during the rainy season (January – May). They spend most of their time sitting still in the leaf litter, waiting for their prey to walk by. Their prey items is anything that they can fit into their mouth. The frogs do breed in temporary pools formed by the rains during the rainy season.

During the other parts of the year, they spend their time underground in a dormant state. They form a cocoon of dead skin around their body during this time to prevent them from drying out during the hot months.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Pacific Horned Frog as Vulnerable to Extinction. A lot of the frog’s habitat has been lost to farms, urban areas, and logging.

Frog of the Week

Miniscule Frog (Mini scule)

Miniscule Frog
photo by Mark D. Scherz and Sam Hyde Roberts

Common Name: Miniscule Frog
Scientific Name: Mini scule
Family: Microhylidae – Narrow Mouthed Frog family
Locations: Madagascar
Size: 0.33 – 0.42 inches (8.4 – 10.8 mm)

The Miniscule Frog is one of the smallest frogs in the world. It lives in the deep leaf litter near permanent streams in the Saint Luce Reserve in Southeast Madagascar. Not much is known about its life history due to it being really hard to find and see.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has not assessed the Miniscule Frog yet. The researchers who described the frog believe that they should be categorized as Critical Endangered. The frog’s range is estimated at only 10 square kilometers.

Frog of the Week

Hot Creek Toad (Anaxyrus monfontanus)

Hot Creek Toad
photo by William Flaxington

Common Name: Hot Creek Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus monfontanus
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: United States – Nevada
Size: 2.3 inches (60 mm)

The Hot Creek Toad is a new species to science. Once considered to be a population of the Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas), they were elevated to full species status in 2020. Like most toads, the Hot Creek Toad is nocturnal. Not much about its life history has been confirmed but its probably similar to the Western’s Toad

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has not assessed the conservation status of the Hot Creek Toad. However, the toad is thought to be rather threatened. They live in a small area in the Hot Creek Canyon area.